Three Apple Maps cars with cameras mounted on their roofs were spotted on Highway 17 and the roads of the Saanich Peninsula over the weekend.
The white Subaru Imprezas had black-tinted windows and Apple logo stickers, with a large camera attached to each vehicle’s roof.
It is believed the cars are mapping roads as part of Apple Maps’ new feature called Look Around, basically their version of Google’s popular Street View.
The cars have been spotted around big urban centres like Vancouver and Toronto and it appears it is now Greater Victoria’s turn.
Over a month ago, Apple teased the locations they would be operating in between May and November 2019. On Vancouver Island, they didn’t mention Saanich Peninsula communities or Victoria, but did announce their intention to map Nanaimo.
“Apple is conducting ground surveys around the world to collect data to improve Apple Maps, and in support of the Look Around feature,” they wrote on their website. “We will also periodically revisit some locations to gather new data in an effort to maintain a high-quality, up-to-date map.”
Apple says it is committed to ensuring privacy and will censor faces and licence plates on images that are published in Look Around.
For those unfamiliar with Google Street View, it is a feature in Google Maps and Google Earth that provides interactive panoramas from positions along many streets in the world. Essentially, you can view a map in its traditional form and then zoom in to see virtual panoramas in a series of joined photographs, giving a more visual depiction of a street or area. Street View was launched in 2007 in several cities in the United States, and has since expanded to include urban and rural areas worldwide.